Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad”

Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad” (photo)

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Comedic actor and up-and-coming screenwriter Jonah Hill has brightened every feature Judd Apatow has yet directed (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Funny People”), and would like you to stop thinking he’s the vulgar loudmouth he played in “Superbad.” If anything, he thinks his recent gig as the hapless liaison to Russell Brand’s rock star in “Get Him to the Greek” is probably the closest to himself he’s ever played since, as Hill told me, “he’s ambitious, good-intentioned and works hard.” Let’s give him that one, if only because he’s starring in his second feature to be released this month.

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (“The Puffy Chair,” “Baghead”) have given Hill his most dramatic role yet as the eponymous weirdo in “Cyrus,” a smart indie blend of humor and heartbreak. John C. Reilly stars as a miserably divorced man who finally meets a very special lady (Marisa Tomei), only to discover her grown son (Hill) is a creepy, over-possessive product of too much parental coddling. At the press junket, where I was gifted a funny promotional T-shirt that I’ll unfortunately never wear in public because it says “Seriously, Don’t F**k My Mom,” I sat down with Hill to discuss the music that influenced him on the “Cyrus” set, making his mother cry, and the fact that you already think his “21 Jump Street” remake will suck.

Not to draw such direct comparisons to Cyrus, but are you socially awkward in any way?

If you caught me on certain days, I would be totally different in that regard. My girlfriend always makes fun of me because I’ll say, “I don’t want to go to this party, it’s going to be awkward,” or I just want to hang out at home. Then she’s like, “You end up closing down the party, the last person to leave, always talking to everybody.” Then on different days, I really am uncomfortable in big social settings. I love watching movies and hanging out with loved ones. That’s where my heart’s at and where I usually have the most fun.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus2.jpgHave you ever felt spoiled by your parents, like Cyrus’ mother does to him?

I don’t think so. They were really supportive, hard on me when they had to be, and continue to be loving. My parents saw the movie at Sundance with my girlfriend and other family members, and I think it’s their favorite movie I’ve ever been in. For me, the hardest scene to watch and my favorite I’ve ever done in any movie is in “Cyrus,” when Marisa Tomei and I are on the bed, she’s admitting she made mistakes in raising me, and I’m admitting for the first time — being honest and not manipulative — that my fear is she’s replacing me with this other person. My heart breaks for both of those characters.

My mom was crying after the movie. It broke my heart because I always looked at it from Cyrus’s point of view — obviously, because I was playing that character — thinking, “It’s so sad, this guy’s losing the one person who cares about him and who he cares about.” My mom was touched by it, because she was like, “It made me think about raising three kids, and times I felt I was making mistakes.” You do your best and there’s no guidebook to it. It must be hard to think, “Maybe I messed up in certain ways.”

Do you want to raise children?

Definitely. That’s one of the great joys of life, especially watching Mark and Jay become fathers. Watching them deal with their kids is really inspiring. John Reilly has a great family, as do a lot of people I’ve worked with — Judd [Apatow], Nick Stoller.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus8.jpgThe reason you work so hard is you love making movies, but the reason you work harder is because you want to have a family and want to be able to buy your kids clothes or food and make sure they’re able to live, you know?

If you’re not anything like your “Superbad” role, as you mentioned, has the real Jonah Hill ever come out in any of your characters?

I don’t think anyone knows me that well if they’re just going on my movies. In my job, unfortunately, I don’t think you can control what people think about you. I’m really proud of my family, friends and girlfriend, and I’m very insular in that way of hanging with them. I’m not out on the Hollywood scene or going to nightclubs and stuff like that. I’m just about making good movies, and I’m prideful of what you said because it’s great that all people know about me are the movies I put out. That’s good for an actor. You don’t want people to know too much because it’s that much harder to convince them that you’re somebody else. When people who think I’m that “Superbad” guy see this movie, it’s going to be shocking because it’s so different.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.